Mansfield, Ohio, lightweight Julian Lane, who recently won at Twin River in June, returned to Lincoln, R.I., Friday and defeated Providence's Luis Felix to capture the vacant CES MMA title at "CES MMA XXV" live on AXS TV.
Michael Parente (@michaelparente)
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The sleeper defied the odds by putting his opponent to sleep.
Fighting in front of a nationwide audience on AXS TV, Julian Lane (8-3-1), the heavy underdog entering Friday’s title bout, choked out Providence’s Luis Felix (11-8), putting him to sleep face-first on the canvas via the guillotine to capture the vacant CES MMA Lightweight crown in the third round of the scheduled five-round main event of “CES MMA XXV” at Twin River Casino.
Felix and Lane were supposed to fight in June, but Felix withdrew the week of the fight due to a rib injury. Bad blood between the two developed when Lane accused Felix of faking the injury so he could instead watch Lane fight Philadelphia’s Gemiyale Adkins that same night at Twin River.
Lane promised to “knock his head off” and nearly delivered, catching Felix with a right hook to the chin late in the third and subsequently locking in the guillotine, choking Felix unconscious with just four seconds remaining in the round. Lane, a Mansfield, Ohio, native more commonly known for his brief stint on The Ultimate Fighter, has now won three consecutive fights, including the last two in Rhode Island.
Felix came out strong, trading blows with Lane in the opening round and nearly catching him in a rear-naked choke in the closing seconds. Lane survived and turned the tables in the second, locking Felix in a similar hold just seconds before the bell rang. Felix appeared to be in control of the fight entering the third while Lane looked fatigue, backpedaling at times while Felix scored often with overhand rights and short kicks to the midsection, but Lane sat on the right hand and eventually found his opening.
“CES MMA XXV,” which aired live on AXS TV, also featured an impressive win by Brazilian Gil de Freitas and Adkins, who returned to defeat the previously unbeaten Nate Andrews.
Having lost three consecutive bouts and six of his last seven entering Friday, Philadelphia lightweight Adkins (9-8) recorded what might’ve been the biggest win of his career on the televised main card, defeating Andrews (6-1), the East Providence, R.I., native, by unanimously decision, 29-28, on all three scorecards.
Andrews used his height and reach advantage to control the opening round against the 5-foot-10 Adkins, but couldn’t finish him despite several attempts at a rear-naked choke. Adkins survived the opening round and used his strength and ability to fight on the inside to gain control of the fight. Both fighters exchanged submission attempts throughout the final 10 minutes of the bout, surviving each time and inevitably rising to their feet to bring the action back to the center of the cage.
Andrews continued to use his reach, but Adkins never buckled and used his ground game to win rounds two and three and snap Andrews’ six-fight win streak. Andrews’ inability to finish on several attempts kept Adkins in the fight; the Philadelphia slugger looked fresh down the stretch while Andrews appeared winded, particularly in the final round. Friday marked Adkins’ first win since he beat Adam Penberthy in 2013.
Arguably the best-kept secret in the northeast, the heavy-hitting de Freitas (17-5, 6 KOs) earned yet another explosive victory, knocking out crafty lightweight George Sheppard (15-9) of Richmond, Va., with a right hook to the chin in the closing seconds of the second round. Sheppard managed to survive a series of right hands toward the end of the opening round and even managed to land some effective blows of his own in the second, but de Freitas eventually caught him trying to backpedal and sent him crashing to the canvas at the 4:52 mark, prompting referee Dan Miragliotta to stop the bout.
The heavy-handed de Freitas, who trains out of Ludlow, Mass., has now won four consecutive bouts, among them an equally explosive win over former UFC vet Chuck O’Neil in August of 2013.
Japanese bantamweight Tateki Matsuda (10-5) won his second consecutive fight in the opening bout of the televised main card, submitting the tough Robbie Leroux (5-5) of Fall River, Mass., in the closing seconds of the opening round. Matsuda, who fights out of Boston-based Sityodtong, softened Leroux with effective ground and pound toward the end of the round and earned the victory at the 4:53 mark with a rear-naked choke. Leroux dislocated his right shoulder in the process and immediately tapped out.
Also on the main card, Amsterdam, N.Y., middleweight Harley Beekman (6-2), ranked No. 2 in the northeast, narrowly defeated top-ranked Chip Moraza-Pollard (8-7) of Plymouth, Mass., by split decision, 29-28, 28-29, 29-28. Known primarily for his striking ability, Pollard never found his rhythm as Beekman scored early and often with aggressive takedowns to keep Pollard from letting his hands go.
The loss for Pollard comes just five months after a critical win over Tom Egan in March. Beekman will more than likely rise to No. 1 in the northeast when the updated rankings are announced.
Unbeaten featherweight prospect Charles Rosa (9-0) of Coconut Creek, Fla. (Peabody, Mass.) kept his perfect record intact, submitting Jake Constant (5-5) of Springfield, Ill., via arm bar 3:36 into the opening round.
On the preliminary card, Providence middleweight Eric Spicely (5-0, 2 KOs) remained unbeaten with an impressive win over 37-fight veteran Nuri Shakur (17-21) of Nashua, N.H. Spicely earned the stoppage at the 1:34 mark of the opening round, bludgeoning Shakur with a series of unanswered lefts, rights and short elbows, forcing referee Kevin MacDonald to stop the bout.
Welterweight Wayne Ahlquist (1-0, 1 KO) of Nashua, N.H., debuted in spectacular fashion, making quick work of Tommy Venticinque (1-2) of Warwick, R.I., with a lethal kick to the liver just 29 seconds into the opening round. Ahlquist also won his final two amateur bouts in 2013 before turning pro Friday.
Bellingham, Mass., flyweight Billy Giovanella (6-3) won his second consecutive bout Friday, defeating a game Kody Nordby (3-3) of Woonsocket, R.I., by triangle choke submission at the 3:05 mark of the second round. Giovanella has now won both of his fights in 2014 since losing three in a row last year.
Northboro, Mass., lightweight Jay Bakanowski (2-1, 1 KO) defeated Providence’s Keenan Raymond (2-1) in bizarre fashion in the opening bout, earning the win when Raymond suffered a left ankle injury falling off his own stool in between the first and second round. Raymond could not put pressure on his foot and was forced to quit before the start of the second round. For Bakanowski, it was his first win in his first fight since October of 2012.
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